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I work for a large retail lumber yard in upstate NY. I'm putting together a proposal to present to my corporate office to start up a design service for our customers that will provide them with a clear set for construction drawings with the many benefits that CA has to offer and also include a customizable material takeoff.


How much more efficient does this program make your operation (specific)?  What is your operation type?


Is there anyone out there using this software for material takeoff as well as design?  Has it made you more efficient/accurate?


Is there any other lumber yard retailers out there utilizing this product?  If so in what capacity?


General pros and cons of this software?

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I may be misunderstanding what you're asking, but I think there's a good chance you're barking up the wrong tree here.  Chief is an awesome program, but as with any "CAD" software its just a tool.  The end user needs to be be a proficient draftsman, designer, or architect to reach a good end product.  Many long time CA users (many of us licensed contractors, designers, architects, and engineers) have a hard enough time as it is mastering the program (ANY program for that matter) and still maintaining a successful business that turns out a high quality end product.  


To put it bluntly, I don't think its a very good idea and don't think it will be in the best interest of of very many people to have lumber yards offering design services.  I see all sorts of problems stemming from the idea. 

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I'm with Lew.  The OP asked about the program.  It would be pretty silly to assume a successful lumber company doesn't know you need a skilled designer to use the program!  Many a lumber company has an in-house designer.  And there's nothing about working for a lumber company that means one is not talented.  


If not, let's just stipulate that you can't get a quality output without a quality brain.  Ok fine.


And I will answer the question.  All software has it's strengths and weaknesses.  Chief is blindingly fast for modelling.  The speed is especially beneficial for getting to "yes" with customers.  


It will take a very thorough understanding to get a good materials list.  That's because the materials list will only be as good as the model.  So a model that will be "good enough" to sell the job, even for CDs, will need to be better for an accurate materials list.


I'd suggest you download the free demo and really push the buttons.  The demo is fully functioning, except that you can't save or print.  But there are sample plans that you can examine.  So the fact that you can't save won't prevent you from examining well developed work.

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Hi Tim,


We are a lumberyard in South Dakota and use Chief for all of our drafting services.  We have found the material list portion to be....lacking.  But we know that Chief is perfect for showing our clients their homes, and we just use other software for material lists.


Feel free and PM me your email address, and we can talk if you'd like.

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